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'Living the book of Acts': South Carolina megachurch baptizes 141 people in 1 day

A mass baptism service held at Upstate Church of South Carolina on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023.
A mass baptism service held at Upstate Church of South Carolina on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023. | Stephen Moore

A multisite megachurch in South Carolina recently held a service in which 141 people were baptized in a single day, with dozens deciding to follow Christ on that day.

Upstate Church, a congregation with six campuses and around 7,000 members that is also known as First Baptist Simpsonville, baptized the 141 people on Sunday.

Of the total, 86 had confirmed in advance that they wished to be baptized, while 55 others made the decision during the worship service when the church offered up an invitation.

A mass baptism service held at Upstate Church of South Carolina on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023.
A mass baptism service held at Upstate Church of South Carolina on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023. | Stephen Moore

Upstate Church Lead Pastor Wayne Bray told The Christian Post that the mass baptism came as part of a sermon series on the ordinances of the church, of which baptism is one.

“Every decision was confirmed by a minister prior to being added to the list. We had high expectations, but we never expected 86 new believers to register in the weeks leading up to Dec. 3,” Bray said.

“I can’t adequately express how amazing it was to be a part of the day. More than any other moment in my ministry, I felt like we were living the book of Acts. We had preached from Acts 2, and it seemed as if we were in the pages ourselves.”

Acts 2 records the events of Pentecost, in which the Holy Spirit came down to the early church and the disciples spoke in tongues of other languages, with many coming to faith in response.

While noting that his church had been steadily growing over the years, Bray told CP that “we have never had spontaneous or mass baptisms before,” noting that before the Sunday service, the most baptisms Upstate Church had seen in a single day was 35.

“We are very intentional about discipleship at Upstate Church,” Bray told CP when asked how they plan to follow-up with the newly baptized believers.

“Our Spiritual Formation Team has done a great job creating a systematic process for helping new believers take their next step in the journey, regardless of their previous religious experience. Small groups and mentoring will be a major part of this process moving forward.”

Over the past several months, there have been numerous gatherings in the United States centered on religious revival and mass baptisms, beginning with the spontaneous worship gathering held at Asbury University in Kentucky back in February.

In July, approximately 4,500 people were baptized at Pirate's Cove Beach in California in an event organized by Pastor Greg Laurie and Harvest Christian Fellowship.

Laurie explained in comments emailed to CP at the time that he attributed the large number of baptisms to "a number of things," among them the success of the recent film "Jesus Revolution."

“The line of people to be baptized was half a mile long and people waited patiently for two hours or more and they did not seem to mind one bit,” Laurie said.

"We have held baptisms at Pirate's Cove, but nothing we have done comes close to this event we just did. It may be the largest baptism in history."

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